The most successful families embrace and elevate their family history, particularly their failures, setbacks and other missteps.
Decades of research have shown that most happy families communicate effectively. But talking doesn't mean simply 'talking through problems,' as important as that is. Talking also means telling a positive story about yourselves.
Knowing more about family history is the single biggest predictor of a child's emotional well-being. Grandparents can play a special role in this process, too.
Take a walk with a turtle. And behold the world in pause.
The simplest consequence of walking on crutches is that you walk slower. Every step must be a necessary one. When you hurry, you get where you're going, but you get there alone. When you go slow, you get where you're going, but you get there with a community you've built along the way.
When faced with a challenge, happy families, like happy people, just add a new chapter to their life story that shows them overcoming the hardship. This skill is particularly important for children, whose identity tends to get locked in during adolescence.
The bottom line: If you want a happier family, bring those skeletons out of the closet.
Children who plan their own schedules and evaluate their own work build up their brains and learn to take more responsibility.
One of the core ideas of the Bible is that meaning can be found in history. The sheer act of telling and retelling stories helps us to understand God's role in the world as well as our own position in a long line of ancestors who have wrestled with similar issues to the ones we wrestle with every day.
The bottom line: if you want a happier family, create, refine and retell the story of your family's positive moments and your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones. That act alone may increase the odds that your family will thrive for many generations to come.
I grew up in the age of discount air fare, and for me, the act of joining a culture was a great way about learning about that different culture. So I grew up in the South, and went to college in the North, and found out that I learned about myself as a Southerner by leaving the South and going to the Northeast.
Here's a confession: I hate parenting books. I hate the ones that are earnest and repetitive.
Superman's original name was Kal-El, or Swift God. His father's name was Jor-El. Superman was clearly drawn as a modern-day god.
The way to tell a really big story, I think, is to tell a really small story.
I'd say my best memory was climbing Mt. Fuji, and the worst memory was... trying to fit my feet into the free giveaway slippers at Japanese schools.
There's a reason the Exodus story has inspired so many Americans. It's a narrative of hope.
Tired of nagging your kids to hurry up, get dressed, drink their milk and brush their teeth? Here's a radical idea: Don't.
I definitely subscribe to the idea that 9/11, to use an overused phrase, was a wake-up call. There was a year-long national teach-in on Islam - everyone read books and suddenly talked about Islam, and that was very productive. But there's no doubt that moment has passed.
If you tell your own story to your children - that includes your positive moments and your negative moments, and how you overcame them - you give your children the skills and the confidence they need to feel like they can overcome some hardship that they've felt.
The older I get, the more I realize that religion is not going to be easily marginalized by one of its wannabe successors - science, capitalism, consumerism.